Monday, February 19, 2007

It isn't about the stars, folks

Why are the Penguins 17-2-3 since December 29th, and the Caps 7-13-2? A lot of it is a product of the play of goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, but that's a discussion for another time. Pittsburgh is also winning, and the Caps aren't, because it's not about the stars, that's why. Crosby? Ovechkin? They are largely constants on their respective clubs (the recent "slump" by Ovechkin notwithstanding...the Caps weren't winning when he was putting together a 13-game scoring streak, either (5-8-0)).

It's the other guys.

Let's go to the numbers. Since December 29th, each team has played 22 games. The Penguins have scored 87 goals in that span (hmm...coincidence?), the Caps 62. Why is Pittsburgh getting a full goal a game more offensive production?

It's the other guys.

If you look at the top four goal scorers for each club, the numbers aren't that far apart:

Pittsburgh --

Jordan Staal: 14
Evgeni Malkin: 12
Mark Recchi: 11
Sidney Crosby: 9

Total: 46

Washington --

Alexander Semin: 15
Chris Clark 10
Alex Ovechkin: 9
Dainius Zubrus: 6

Total: 40

Things get intersting when you look at the next seven for each club:

Pittsburgh --

Ouellet: 6
Whitney: 5
Christensen: 5
Ruutu: 5
Gonchar: 4
Malone 4
Talbot: 4
Total: 33

Washington --

Clymer: 4
Laich: 3
Nycholat: 2
Sutherby: 2
Brashear: 2
Pettinger: 2
Fehr: 2
Total: 17

Washington is getting half as much production from the "next tier" of players than is Pittsburgh. That's not all Crosby, and it isn't all Ovechkin. That's an indication of what is lacking with the Caps and how much work still must be done in building a roster. It isn't about Crosby and Ovechkin. Those guys are going to get their points and make their impressions. But to the extent either of these clubs has any measure of success, they are going to have to get significant contributions from guys you don't see on highlight reels every night. Pittsburgh is getting those contributions, the Caps aren't.


CP said...

Just so you know, the Caps werent winning during Ovechkins 13 game point streak because Ovechkin wasnt playing all that great during that streak...

Remember, to keep that streak alive he had an empty net goal and a fluke assist with 20 seconds to go in a loss. So, without those two, that '13' game streak would look actually very average, and by Ovechkins standards, utter crap.

He hasnt been the same dynamic game changer he was last year, sadly, and in the Case fo the Capitals, we wont be winning games if he continues to 'slump'.

Hockey Amor said...

Great post, Peerless, here's to hoping that our second tier can step it up.

hooks_orpik said...

these last 25-30 games are where the caps need to give a bigger role to younger players like fehr, klepis, bourque, fleischmann, etc to see where they fit in the organization. that's essentially what the penguins did last year with whitney, surovy, talbot, armstrong, etc.

if backstrom's a success off the bat like staal or malkin, the caps have a chance show monumental improvement like the penguins did this year.

the caps blueline, all-around, could be better this year than the pens defense corps this year, so they'll have a chance.

hooks_orpik said...

err scoring correct, "the caps blueline, all-around, could be better NEXT year then pittsburgh's this year defenseman"

Tyler said...

$31 million.

If GMGM doesn't spend some money this offseason, the Caps fan base is going to be mighty disillusioned. At least I will be.